National News Release
April 27, 2001
Contact: Sue Hensley
Phone: (202) 693-4650
Statement by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao on OSHA's 30th Anniversary
On April 28, OSHA celebrates its 30th Aniversary - a time to look back and, more importantly, a time to look ahead. Over the past three decades job-related fatalities have been cut in half. Injuries and illnesses have declined by 40 percent. OSHA, its state partners, employers and employees together share the credit for the progress that has been made.
But there is more that must be done. Every day 16 workers still lose their lives in this country. And every hour 650 workers experience an injury or illness on the job. While these numbers are steadily coming down, they are still far too high.
Prevention is the key to greater success. Together we must find ways to ensure that workers are protected so accidents don't happen and illnesses don't occur. Every time we hear of a worker who dies or an employer who is cited for violating an OSHA standard, we should ask, "What could have been done to prevent the problem in the first place?" lf we take a preventive approach, we can bring down the numbers of injuries, illnesses and fatalities even further.
The 21st Century demands a workforce that is prepared. This is a time for improving the quality of work life and closing the skills gap. All of us must be ready to meet that challenge.